During the wars with Napoleon the Austrian regiment usually consisted of three battalions of fusiliers (six companies each) plus two companies of grenadiers attached directly to the regiment and not to any battalion. When at war these two grenadier companies were usually split from their regiment and grouped together in a battalion of six grenadier companies to form an elite unit. Such elite units would then be deployed independently, providing the best elements of the Habsburg infantry.
By far the most distinctive part of the appearance of the Austrian grenadier was his cap. Nicknamed the fauteuil (armchair) by the French, it had a tall front and a low rear, hence the comparison. It was covered in fur, with a plate on the front and a bag at the rear, and this is what most of these figures wear. However the sculptor has misunderstood how the bag worked, and has it as a separate extra element extending from the upper part of the cap. Also they have made the fur come down right over the hair and reaching the collar of the coat, which is an exaggeration of how far this fur actually fell. They have also attempted an eagle-type badge on the plate, which is far too large and would have been better left blank or indistinct. All these problems are hidden on some of the figures as they wear a cover over the cap, and while these do not reflect the way they were tied up they are better than the uncovered caps. Two of the poses wear something very different - a small cap rather like a 20th century side cap. The evidence for this is somewhat scanty, and only seems to suggest the very late part of the Wars, so even if this item is valid we would have preferred to see the usual simple round affair made out of old uniform, which was common for most of the period.
The rest of the uniform is largely hidden underneath the single-breasted greatcoat most here wear. This is somewhat longer than we would have expected, and for those that like to count buttons this one has too many. The standard number was six, but several here clearly have more than that (an easy thing to fix of course). Two men have pinned their skirts back at the front, something we could find no evidence for at all, and since the coat had no buttons for this purpose this would have to be a personal adjustment and hardly worthy of inclusion in a set like this. From looking at the bottom of the legs several may be wearing the correct gaiters, but some are clearly wearing campaign trousers, which may be correct although it is hard to say how commonly this was actually done, and both contemporary and modern illustrations do not show them at all.
One of the two officer figures at the end is dressed much like his men, but the other wears the bicorn that was normal wear when off duty. Instead of a coat this man has a cloak with a cape, which is open to reveal his standard uniform and boots underneath. Such a garment does not seem to have been regulation, but as officers often pleased themselves in such things, this garb is easy to accept. The drummer, who lacks the holder for his sticks, wears a protective apron outside his coat, which would seem unnecessary and strange as this tied around the leg, which obviously it cannot do if over the coat. Equally surprisingly, the sapper wears his full-length apron again outside his coat, although here it is rather short, and much shorter than the coat itself. Also this man has been given a musket when sappers did not usually carry any firearm, so by extension he should also not have the cartridge pouch.
Most of the figures wear a knapsack, which should be held by straps round both shoulders, but the sculptor has forgotten these on many of the poses. That of the drummer is lower, held by a single strap in the old style, and is correct as it allowed room on the back for the drum to be carried. Each man has a cartridge pouch on the right hip, and also carries a circular water bottle, which is correct, but here the straps holding this have wrongly been shown as a simple ‘X’, which would not allow for the spout. As grenadiers the men all have a combined sabre and bayonet scabbard, but the officers, drummer and ensign have only a full sword. A few of the poses have also been given a haversack-type bag, which was not issue, but not an impossible extra item picked up by some.
Arrangements for companies carrying flags changed more than once during the Napoleonic wars, but grenadiers did carry flags, and this set has one unfurled and clearly in a strong wind as the man is standing, yet the flag is not limp. This flag is about 18mm by 20mm (129.6cm by 144cm), which is roughly the right size. It is mounted on a staff with a pike head, which is also correct, and for those who love to substitute paper flags this one is easy to trim off if necessary.
As the title suggests, there is really only one pose here, which is standing to attention, musket on the left shoulder. Variety is in the positioning of the arms, and in dress, but basically this pose is fine. The sapper holds his axe to the side, and the drummer holds his sticks, but points them down vertically over the drum for some reason. Not perhaps the best way to do a difficult subject, but none of the poses here are too bad.
The sculpting is OK but the detail is not sharp and there are a number of mistakes. Some have already been mentioned, but others include the sometimes thick and ugly sabre scabbards and the missing (or sometimes part-missing!) cross strap between the knapsack straps. The faces are passable, but at the other end the lower legs and feet are often very blurred. The cartridge pouches have no design engraved on them, so a badge should be painted here, and also missing is the badge or matchcase on the pouch belt, which was another classic sign of a grenadier. There is a very noticeable flash line round all the mould seams, but otherwise no flash, and the simple poses mean there is no excess plastic anywhere.
The sculpting is adequate but nothing more, and the accuracy problems are quite annoying, although the variety of clothing is quite appealing and creates what may be a more realistic collection of men than the perfect formations so often modelled. As none of the men have their hair in a queue they must date from 1805 at the earliest (when this practice was abolished), but this still presents many opportunities to show these men in the field as they repeatedly fought against Napoleon until his downfall. This would include times when the weather was far from pleasant, as in the freezing climate at Austerlitz, so figures wearing their greatcoats are very useful, even if the actual figures are not particularly impressive.